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Lydney's answer to Lanzarote!
A swimmers' paradise of sparkling blue water surrounded by palm trees and stunning coastal scenery. Limassol? Lanzarote? St Lucia? No...Lydney!
Summer sunseekers on Severnside don't have to splash out a fortune to swim and sunbathe in exotic surroundings. Or even go very far.
Thanks to the generosity of a 1920s landowner and the community spirit of local people and businesses, Lydney is the proud possessor
On a sparkling sun-deck surrounded by murals of palm trees and seaside scenery, it's not to hard to imagine - at least when the sun's shining - that you're under Mediterranean or Caribbean skies, rather just a couple of miles from the River Severn.
Five years ago it wasn't such a sunny story when Lydney's lido looked set to close.
The Bathurst Swimming Pool was presented to the people of Lydney by Lord Bledisloe in 1920 to mark his son's coming of age.
The lido in the 1920s
For many years it was run by the Forest of Dean Council before being taken over by Lydney Town Council.
But when a new indoor pool opened in the town, the pool's future looked bleak. However council decision-makers reckoned without the strength of feeling among locals who were determined to save their historic lido.
The Friends of Bathurst Pool was born and with the help of £36,000 from the Forest of Dean Initiative the pool was taken over on a 10-year lease and reopened after a revamp in 2003.
Now run by volunteers - only the lifeguards are paid - it is now open every day for 10 weeks every summer.†
Site manager Bob Berryman says: "It's Lydney's best-kept secret and we are very proud of our pool.
"We have had fantastic support from local people, because so many of them remember learning to swim here, and thanks to businesses in the area who are very generous in the practical help they give us we have turned it from a rather rundown facility to something everyone can be proud of.
"We get nearly 500 people a day when there's a heatwave - there's no way we were going to see it closed down.
"All the money we get in is ploughed back into repairs and improving the facilities.
"Who needs to go abroad when you can come here? It's even cheaper than a day at the seaside … all we need is good weather!"
last updated: 15/04/2008 at 08:54
Have Your Say
Did you learn to swim in Lydney's historic lido or somewhere else in Gloucestershire? Share your memories here.
Vivien Rees (Warner)